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Next Steps

Recently I preached a sermon where I mentioned the need to forgive, and afterwards one of my church members came up and asked a great question: “How do you learn to forgive someone?” Here was my answer to this person, hopefully it will help you as well:

As hokey as it might sound, forgiveness starts with a choice. The emotions of unforgiveness, all the hurt, etc. is so strong that for most, those emotions override everything. Most people don’t forgive until they feel like forgiving.

Forgiving someone begins by choosing to forgive, regardless of feelings. You might not ever feel like forgiving, but you choose to forgive anyways. Your will supersedes your emotions.

For most, we don’t forgive because we still feel like the offending party still owes us something: an apology, our purity, our childhood, etc. Stripped down, forgiveness is deciding that the offending person doesn’t owe you anything anymore. They don’t owe you an apology, they don’t owe you anything.

When Jesus says forgive not seven times but seventy-seven (Matthew 18:21-22), it’s because the hurt will wash over you on a daily basis. Every time you feel the urge to hate or hold onto bitterness, you have to choose to forgive you again. They don’t owe you anything anymore. I would say something like this out loud every time the pain and urge to hold onto bitterness comes to mind, “I forgive _____. He/she doesn’t owe me anything anymore.”

Forgiveness never really gets easy, but it can get easier after time. I hope this helps!

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